Gas stoves can leak chemicals linked to cancer, evidence shows

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  one month ago  •  42 comments

By:   Aria Bendix

Gas stoves can leak chemicals linked to cancer, evidence shows
A study found hazardous air pollutants emitted from gas stoves in California, including benzene — a chemical known to cause to cancer in some people.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Natural gas stoves and ovens can leak harmful chemicals inside homes even when they're not in use.

About 47 million U.S. households use such appliances, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

A study published Thursday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found at least 12 hazardous air pollutants emitted from gas stoves in California, including benzene — a chemical known to cause cancer in some people with long-term exposure.

The researchers behind the study — a group from the nonprofit energy research institute PSE Healthy Energy — took gas samples from 159 residential stoves in 16 counties throughout California. They found benzene in 99% of the samples.

They also calculated a household's benzene exposure based on the size of the kitchen, the room's ventilation level, how much of the chemical was present and whether the stoves were leaking when they were turned off. The results showed that the leakiest stoves exposed people to indoor concentrations of benzene that were up to seven times the safe exposure level set by the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Over time, such exposure might increase a person's risk of blood disorders or reproductive issues, although scientists are still learning about how benzene affects health.

The chemical has more conclusively been linked to leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The World Health Organization has said there's no safe level of benzene exposure when it comes to cancer risk.

But benzene isn't the only worrisome chemical that comes from stoves, nor are the emissions limited to California. Decades of research has suggested that gas stoves are a source of indoor air pollution.

"Anywhere natural gas is leaked, hazardous air pollutants are likely being released, as well," a co-author of the new study, Kelsey Bilsback, a senior scientist at PSE Healthy Energy, said on a media call.

Previous research has shown that gas stoves in California homes emit nitrogen oxides, which can irritate the eyes, the nose, the throat or the lungs and can cause some people to feel tired, dizzy or short of breath.

Another co-author of the study, Drew Michanowicz, previously identified 21 hazardous air pollutants from gas stoves and outdoor gas lines at Boston homes. Several of the pollutants were volatile organic compounds: a large group of chemicals, including benzene, that may increase the risk of certain cancers, birth defects or cognitive impairment among people with long-term exposure.

But Michanowicz said some of the lowest concentrations of pollutants in California were still about 10 times higher than the averages from his Boston study. The researchers aren't sure why concentrations vary from one location to the next.

"We think it has something to do with where the gas is being sourced from," said Eric Lebel, another study co-author. "California has two major pipelines where it imports gas from: one coming from the Rockies and then one coming in from the north from Canada."

Bilsback said benzene can enter a gas supply at different points in the system because of how it is stored or transported. From there, it could be released into the kitchen through a leaky stove.

The presence of benzene in California homes was consistent regardless of their gas providers or brands of appliances, Lebel said. But stoves in the North San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys had the highest levels, followed by those in greater Los Angeles.

"Benzene emissions from a gas stove, even while it's off, can produce in some cases concentrations of benzene in your house that are equivalent to living with a smoker," Lebel said.

Andrea De Vizcaya Ruiz, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the University of California, Irvine, who wasn't involved in the study, said that people can get exposed to small amounts of benzene when they fill up their cars' gas tanks or sit by a fireplace but that exposure to high amounts over long periods of time is worrisome.

"It's one of the most direct chemicals that induces cancer, because it transforms the cells in the bone marrow," she said.

Pregnant women, infants and young children may be particularly susceptible to adverse health outcomes from long-term benzene exposure, De Vizcaya Ruiz said.

But Lebel said it can be hard to tell whether your home has a leak. Gas companies add compounds to gas that give off a rotten egg smell so major leaks don't go undetected, but the scent usually isn't noticeable unless gas is leaking at high concentrations. In that case, De Vizcaya Ruiz said, people may also start to vomit, feel drowsy or confused or develop headaches.

"If you ever smell gas, you should immediately leave your house, call the gas company," Lebel said.

De Vizcaya Ruiz said opening windows can better ventilate rooms in the short term, which helps mitigate potential exposure, but it won't eliminate the risk or the root cause. People in California may want to consider calling their gas companies as a precaution to make sure there's no leak, she added.

One of the simplest fixes, Lebel said, is to replace a gas stove with an electric one.

"Just having a gas appliance in your house can be a potential health risk," he said. "Eliminating gas altogether is the only sure way to completely eliminate that risk."


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al Jizzerror
Junior Expert
1  al Jizzerror    one month ago

Oops... I farted.  My butt is NOT a source of benzene.

It sounds like the source of the natural gas need to be investigated.

"We think it has something to do with where the gas is being sourced from," said Eric Lebel, another study co-author. "California has two major pipelines where it imports gas from: one coming from the Rockies and then one coming in from the north from Canada."

I invested in  CLNE (Clean Energy Fuels Corp.)   They make nat gas out of bullshit.

I hope there isn't any benzene in manure.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  al Jizzerror @1    one month ago
Oops... I farted.

good thing farting isn't contagious like yawning is ...

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2  sandy-2021492    one month ago

So, I get it.  But did they study gas furnaces?  Water heaters?  What about propane?

Are folks to switch those over to electric, as well?

If they do, there will be a lot of people who have no way to heat their homes or cook during a power outage (think Texas ice storm), and it's been my experience that electric furnaces cost a lot more to operate than gas ones.

And I'd much rather cook over gas than electric.

Having a propane stove means I can eat hot food when the lights are off, and having a propane fireplace means I can keep part of my home warm, even if the furnace blower doesn't have power.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Guide
2.1  evilgenius  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2    one month ago
If they do, there will be a lot of people who have no way to heat their homes or cook during a power outage (think Texas ice storm), and it's been my experience that electric furnaces cost a lot more to operate than gas ones.

I'm looking to add a gas fireplace insert (direct vent) in my living room that I can use to heat the main floor during a power outage. My furnace is gas heated forced hot water, but it can't work during a power outage. We had one a couple of years ago in February. Power was out for several hours where house temps dipped into the 50s. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Ender  replied to  evilgenius @2.1    one month ago

I have a gas on demand water heater. Problem is it still needs electricity to run.

So do most gas furnaces. So even if power went out central heat will not work either. The only thing that would function without power in my house is the stove (though I would have to manually light it...)

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  evilgenius @2.1    one month ago

My furnace is forced air over propane, but I mostly use a wood stove in the colder months.  The wood stove has a blower, and therefore needs electricity.  I also have a small propane fireplace that will heat the living areas, and I've used it during a few outages.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1.3  Ender  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.2    one month ago

I couldn't deal with propane. I knew some people that had it in MD and they had to have this huge tank.

It took half the tank to heat the pool...jrSmiley_100_smiley_image.jpg

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Guide
2.1.4  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  evilgenius @2.1    one month ago

I just installed a ventless 30,000 btu propane fireplace in the man-cave specifically to have a spot to stay warm when the power goes out.  I live on top of a mountain and it’s happened four or five times since we moved in less than a year ago.  That things puts off some serious heat, but it stinks like hell.  I’m really hoping that the stench is just the fake logs just getting settled in.  Nice looking unit but the installation can be expensive.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.5  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @2.1.3    one month ago

My propane tank is buried.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
PhD Principal
2.2  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2    one month ago
But did they study gas furnaces?  Water heaters?

Those don't "exhaust" into the home. They have flue's to the outside and the gases won't stay within the home.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @2.2    one month ago

My propane stove is ventless.

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
2.3  pat wilson  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2    one month ago
And I'd much rather cook over gas than electric

Same, any day !

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Silent
3  charger 383    one month ago

People will cause pollution doing what they, no way around it,  With overpopulation the total will become too much.  The cause of the problem is obvious.   

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4  Kavika     one month ago

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSGL0X-xkDp4bKULcXyvQCSJO9t4jBj2_5akg&usqp=CAU

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @4    one month ago

If you live in Florida...shouldn't you be drinking iced tea?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Trout Giggles @4.1    one month ago

It was too cold for iced tea that day. The temperature dropped to a bitter 71 degrees.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @4.1.1    one month ago

snort

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1.3  Kavika   replied to  Trout Giggles @4.1.2    one month ago

BTW, you should never question Kermit. Frogs know the weather and tea.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
5  Revillug    one month ago

Some progressives see racism everywhere.

California progressives see carcinogens everywhere.

More seriously, I do most of the cooking in my household right now and I use a gas stove. You can just smell the chemicals from a gas fire linger in the kitchen and spread around the apartment.

We are long overdue for ubiquitous electric ranges.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6  Trout Giggles    one month ago

Who sponsored this study? GE? Are they having problems selling electric stoves?

I prefer to cook with gas but I don't have a house plumbed for gas. We have no gas lines around so when the power goes out we are up the creek. We have a grill and a Blackstone so we won't starve but we will freeze

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6.1  Kavika   replied to  Trout Giggles @6    one month ago

Cold in Arkansas, LOL.

This is cold, Trout.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @6.1    one month ago

I've seen that before...when I lived in Alaska.

I've always hated the cold. I was the most miserable person in my house during the winter. If it gets below 50 degrees I'm bitching.

pssstttt....I've seen it in the teens here

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6.1.2  Kavika   replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.1    one month ago

That was my cuz, Luther Walks the Horse giving the weather from Crystal ND... He was suspended after that weather forecast.

It was 41 below zero that day

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @6.1.2    one month ago

LOL! That is cold.

I experienced -82 F in North Pole, Alaska...and that's with no wind. Just ambient air temperature

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
Junior Expert
6.1.4  al Jizzerror  replied to  Kavika @6.1    one month ago

jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
Junior Expert
6.1.5  al Jizzerror  replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.3    one month ago
I experienced -82 F in North Pole, Alaska...and that's with no wind.

When I lived in Newfoundland the wind-chill factor got down to death.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6.1.6  Kavika   replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.3    one month ago

Any temp minus 40 or lower you cannot have wind. At that temp the cold freezes the wind so it can't blow.

Professor Erwin Corey.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1.7  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @6.1.6    one month ago

I did not know that! Thanks!

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6.1.8  Kavika   replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.7    one month ago

Trout, my cuz Luther Walks the Horse told Professor Erwin Corey that and Luther didn't know road apples from mountain oysters.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.2  Revillug  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    one month ago
Who sponsored this study? GE? Are they having problems selling electric stoves?

Another problem with gas for stoves where I live is that every now and then a building explodes.

325px-East_Harlem_apartment_explosion_aerial_view.jpg

2014 East Harlem gas explosion

OTOH, NYC has one of the highest electricity prices in the country and it is cheaper to cook with gas.

Tough call.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
6.2.1  JBB  replied to  Revillug @6.2    one month ago

FDNY is excellent...

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
6.3  JBB  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    one month ago

With gas I can make stovetop coffee in a blackout.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.3.1  Revillug  replied to  JBB @6.3    one month ago

In case anyone needs a refresher:

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
7  JBB    one month ago

I cook with fire. My parents and my grandparents cooked with fire. My people going back to the stone age have all cooked with fire. I have had multiple expensive top of the line electric cook tops and they all sucked ass. So, give me gas or I've got to pass.

Electric oven are fine, I guess. But, not cook tops...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7.1  Kavika   replied to  JBB @7    one month ago
So, give me gas or I've got to pass.

Wait, what you're passing gas well that should improve the burgers.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
7.1.1  JBB  replied to  Kavika @7.1    one month ago

At this point not having gas would trouble me.

Really thought, my emissions smell like roses...

And, the burgers were excellent. Seared nicely.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
7.2  Revillug  replied to  JBB @7    one month ago
Electric oven are fine, I guess. But, not cook tops...

That would be the type of range I would prefer.

When I actually lived in an apartment with an electric stove top it burned a hole in a tea kettle one day.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
7.2.1  Revillug  replied to  Revillug @7.2    one month ago

So on the one hand, I can see how electric stoves might be better for us to be using and I would support policy makers trying to switch many of us to them.

On the other hand, I have used an electric stovetop and did not like it.

So maybe we should slow-walk this one.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
7.2.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Revillug @7.2.1    one month ago
So maybe we should slow-walk this one.

Are you partial to your fossil fuel?

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
7.2.3  Revillug  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @7.2.2    one month ago
Are you partial to your fossil fuel?

I've had a hard enough time learning how to cook with gas burners.

The recipe says med high flame. I set the dial to like a 7 and take a peak at how high the flame is and adjust it. The flame is a known quantity I am used to working with and it has taken me quite a while to get used to it. I know how long a pan takes to get hot with a flame and I know how long it will take to respond when I adjust the temperature (peaking at the flame again).

I've used an electric range. The heater coils are are a pain. You set the dial but unless you want to pick your pot off of the stove to see if the coils are bright orange, you are going to have to trust the dial. And god forbid you let the liquid boil off. It's amazing how much heat will develop in an empty pan.

So on the one hand I know we would be better off transitioning to electric stoves powered by alternative energy sources. On the other hand I won't be leading the way.

EDIT: ..but you know what might work out as a substitute for natural gas? Hydrogen.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Silent
8  charger 383    one month ago

I am slowly remodeling my living room and want to put gas insert in my fireplace.  I want the heat, look and convenience.  I don't want to deal with  wood and ashes when I get this room nice, they are enough of a mess with the woodstove in the basement.   

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
8.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  charger 383 @8    one month ago

Yes.  My wood stove is in the basement, but it's hard not to carry up bits of bark stuck to my shoes and clothes.  There's the occasional splinter in my hand, too.

 
 

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